An aggressive dog may bite or show other aggressive behaviors during grooming sessions for numerous reasons - whether they are feeling anxious, fearful, confused, or have had previous bad experiences while being groomed.
Some solutions are muzzles, medications, or special anxiety reducing jackets. Muzzles: If your dog tends to snap and bite during grooming, putting the muzzle over it can make the task easier.
The Prevent Biting Method
Use a leash and head halter to direct your dog's head away from your while working, ideally a grooming table with a neck restraint should be used. Use long handled grooming tools to avoid being bitten.
Provide a Calming Touch
Dogs love to be patted and pet and grooming time is no different. Patting and holding your nervous dog throughout the grooming process can help to reassure your pet that everything is ok and that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Separation Anxiety—they may not want to have to leave their owners. High velocity blow dryer noise is loud. We use something called a Happy Hoodie that wraps around their head and covers their ears, but the noise can greatly affect dogs that are sensitive to loud sounds.
Get your dog used to being handled.
Work with your dog at home to get him used to being handled before you take him to the groomer. Pair a predictor word, like “ears,” with a gentle touch on that specific area; reward your dog with a treat during or immediately after giving the cue and handling the area.
Some dogs don't like to be handled at all. Some just hate having their feet touched. Maybe they dislike having their tail brushed. Whatever thing they hate when you try to clean them up probably happens for every grooming.
Many things may cause stress, so try playing some music to lighten the mood. Lastly, let him play for a while before grooming. If he's happy, relaxed and enjoying the playful integration, there's a greater chance that he'll stay still during the session.
Stop it or remove your dog from the situation before it escalates. Do not discipline your dog with physical, violent, or aggressive punishments. Opt for positive reinforcement before resorting to the use of aversives. Remember to reward your dog for good behavior.
If you decide that grooming your reactive pup at home isn't right for you, there are definitely lots of caring, dedicated professionals out there who are ready to take on the task. You'll want to do your research, though, and make sure you take your dog to a groomer with experience working with reactive dogs.
Increase the amount of grooming over time.
Try clipping part of her coat, or putting her completely in the bathtub. If your dog begins to get anxious at any step, simply reassure her and stop for the day. Try again tomorrow, and give her a treat at the beginning of the process.
For most dogs, follow the direction of the hair growth with your clippers. This gives a more natural textured look. Depending on the dog's coat direction, for most dogs that means going from the head towards the tail, down the sides, and down the legs.
Professional grooming tasks, such as those featured in Pooch Perfect, are likely to take much longer than the usual social contact dogs get from each other and from humans, and dogs may not understand the purpose of this interaction.
Some groomers are more experienced with anxious or aggressive dogs than others. Your vet may also be able to prescribe medication that helps your pup stay calm during their grooming session.
They might be nervous, cold, bursting with anticipation, or having a really stimulating dream, but an underlying medical condition or an injury could also cause such tremors.
Whether it's hitting, tapping, or bopping a dog on the nose as means of discipline, this aversive technique still falls short of the success found with using reward-based or positive training. Contemporary experts urge against all uses of physical discipline.
Once a dog bites a human as a fear response (i.e., the dog wants the scary person to stay away from them), they are much more likely to bite again because the behavior was reinforced when the human stopped approaching or even backed up.
Best case scenario if you growl at your dog — you'll get his attention because you've made a novel noise. Worst case scenario – you'll get bitten in the face. I used another example to illustrate the fact that growling at your dog is not only silly, but dangerous advice.
The safest and most effective way to treat an aggression problem is to implement behavior modification under the guidance of a qualified professional. Modifying a dog's behavior involves rewarding her for good behavior—so you'll likely be more successful if your dog enjoys praise, treats and toys.
For this reason, I advise all my clients and students that it is NEVER wise to punish a dog for growling, even by saying “No.” Dogs that are repeatedly punished for growling eventually may not give a warning and immediately escalate to biting.
You should NOT punish a dog for biting. This method may also teach the dog not to give a warning prior to the bite. It certainly doesn't do anything to minimize the dog's stressors.
In this type of bite, the dog's teeth break the victim's skin and leave bloody marks behind. There are two subcategories within level three to differentiate between single bites and multiple bites, but if these bites are shallower than the length of the dog's canine teeth, it falls into level three.